Many people digest the news via late night or comedy (panel) shows. For many this seems to be the sole source of information. John Oliver and Trevor Noah spend a lot of time explaining news context.
Now, laughing about the mistakes and hypocrisies of the powerful can be a good thing. However, there is a risk that by merely laughing about it we confirm the status quo, because if it’s funny it cannot be that bad. Maybe a reason, why people like Jon Stewart and Bremner are not around anymore. Comedy soothes us in and gives us a sense of meaning where anger would be required.
Putting Trump on comedy makes him more human.
The number of comedy panel shows in the UK is really overwhelming. This might be because they are actually easy to produce and the format doesn’t seem to wear out. It’s like having a chat for lonely people.
Comedians tend to be working or middle class and left leaning. However, social critique features very little. In the drive to capitalise on being part of the media machine/business they forget the role they could have. Many of them become celebrities, the same type they ridicule.
Standup comedians seem to rely on certain effects nowadays: swearing, description of slapstick moments (eg drunkenness), repetitiveness, dropping of random facts which are then picked up later in a close (to give the feel of some sophistication). Vulgarity has really increased in TV comedy, it seems to be the way to connect with a larger working class audience.
Don’t get me wrong, I do like comedy but I think we attach too much power to its creators. They cannot fulfil the social change that we desire.
Mr Robot is an exceptional TV (on demand) series about our time. It portrays the lonesome, schizophrenic hacker as the epitomic hero of our time. He is the one who can see through our reality, he can solve the ‘matrix’. This show is interesting on so many levels: it has technology, mental disease, drugs, self-harm, conspiracy, loneliness, psycho-drama, social unrest, capitalism critique etc.
The main character Elliot can see our numbness, he has the gift to reveal our secrets by tracing our digital footprints. He lives an almost un-digital life, where he constantly has to destroy the tech to untrace himself. With the erasing of the data, he also erases his memory – he has merged physical and mental memory. All that remains is the association of a song on the burned disc.
Elliot is split, he has a good and a bad side, his dad is the Id that drives him to destroy this fake world. He wants to liberate us from our debt (our past) and from our digital prison. He wants to expose the crime that goes unnoticed.
He is a hero but vulnerable.
Watch the clairvoyant scene when his alter ego exposes our unreal reality: A bipolar world which is a kingdom of bullshit.
He talks to us. He breaks the fourth wall. Is he talking to us or his demons?
… from the Apprentice is a great case of a neurotic. He cites his father’s death as an important event in his life. He internalised the traits of his demanding father before his death. The death triggered him to follow what his father had wanted – he created an imago his dad in his psyche. Since he never succeeds in fulfilling the high expectations, he is doomed to a cycle of (good) achievement and new goals – without the celebration of success. He uses his drive as a defense against other people’s feelings and demands upon him. At some point I thought he is using the ‘drama’ of his father’s death and his own hardship as a facade, but I think his spiel is genuine.
While Neil comes across as a very driven and successful individual, he is a very unhappy person. He is constantly under-achieving according to his standards. This also makes him quite unsociable as his achievement drive makes him egotistical – self-centered. He never rests. Compared to other candidates he lacked a sense of humour and irony. Failure for him is due to lack of effort not to a wrong strategy.